Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Potty Training 101

I've been worried about this since I gave birth to Dougie...potty training. I don't know how to do it, when to start it or how hard to push it on him. Positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement? No diapers? Pull-ups? Potties? Potty Seats? It's all too much for me.

This past summer, while I was on summer vacation (and pregnant with Kate) I tried to potty train Dougie. He wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with going on the potty or the toilet. We had two potty chairs in our bathrooms and we literally had to BEG him to sit on them. He did pee a couple times on them, but both times were MONTHS apart and probably an accident. Both times he was naked already and started to pee on the floor before we picked him up and threw him on the potty to finish. I made a HUGE deal about him going on the potty those two times...HUGE. I jumped up and down, gave him candy, sang the potty song, the whole bit. He could have cared LESS. The kid just didn't care. Over the summer we got nowhere with the potty, but at least he was telling us when he had a messy diaper (no one likes to change a poop that's been sat on). I though we were headed in the right direction....but then Kate was born.

When Kate was born, he was very interested in her diapers. We tried the whole "Only babies wear diapers, aren't you a big boy? Don't you want to wear your big boy underwear?" to no avail. AND, he stopped telling us when he went and started RUNNING AWAY from us when we asked if he had a poppy diaper. I know that most kids regress when siblings are born, so my dreams of Dougie being trained by his third birthday (March) were being thrown out the window.

I was also getting mixed messaged from everyone. My family would tell me not to worry about it..."Boys take longer!" they would say. Meanwhile, my niece who is only a few weeks older than Dougie was fully trained. Others would wonder why the heck he was still in diapers! "Have you tried buying him special underwear?" Yes. "Have you tried giving him a reward when he sits on the potty?" Yes. "My son was trained when he was 18 months...have you tried having him pee outside with Daddy?" YES!
"Have you tried naked time?" YES, and that only resulted in me having to clean up pee and poop off the FLOOR instead of of his rear end.[;

In November and December, I just gave up. I didn't do ANYTHING. Nik tried with naked time, but it yielded the same results. While I was Christmas shopping, I decided to try one more thing. I bought a potty seat (It goes on the toilet, instead of being a separate thing) and I found Red Sox underwear. I had bought fancy underwear before with no luck. Lightning McQueen and Mater sat in his top drawer for didn't motivate him at all. I bought the Red Sox underwear, hoping he'd still fit in them once he was finally trained.

After I bought those two items, I decided to try ONE MORE TIME before my maternity leave was over. I told Dougie, "After Christmas, no more diapers" he said okay and went on his business...I had a feeling I'd been cleaning pee and poop from underwear in a few weeks and it would fail again.

Well, Christmas came, he opened his potty seat and his underwear and he was excited, but didn't want to try them. Christmas left and the next day we went to see Liz in Natick. So, I lied. It was after Christmas and he was still in diapers, but I refuse to not see my friend when she's here just because I'm potty training my son. So, day after Christmas he wore a diaper.

Fast forward to the next day and he was in underwear....he peed in his underwear a couple times that day, didn't understand and I thought it was going to be a LONG week. The next day, he peed only a little bit before trying the potty, but wouldn't go pee to save his LIFE. BUT on the 3rd day...he POOPED on the potty. He still wouldn't pee, but he pooped! I was THRILLED! He still wore a diaper to nap, and would pee the minute it went on, but the thought of no poopy diapers was enough to keep me going.

Fast forward again 5 or so days. He WANTS to wear big boy underwear. He WANTS to go on the potty. He can pee on the potty, he can poop on the potty (he doesn't like to poop, but he will eventually go) and he's SUCH A BIG BOY! I really don't think this had anything to do with me, rewards, charts, candy or fancy underwear. I just think he was ready. He did it, I just helped.

And he loves his sticker chart that I made him last week, and it's fun for here he is with his chart! (Notice the thumbs up here.)

Oh and Ireland is going to be so much easier with a potty trained three year old! Yahoo!


Nik said...

Best photo ever!

Melissa Parlaman (Graco contributor) said...

I like your reward chart! I went out to a store & bought one to kick start my daughter's potty training. the stickers & reward system really does work. So far, we are off to a really good start (just nightime is a bit tough but we'll get there). Best of luck & continued success with the potty training!